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Concept: Passive voice


During competition, high-performance swimmers are subject to repeated physical demands that affect their final performance. Measurement of lactate concentration in blood seeks to indirectly gauge physiologic responses to the increase in physical exercise. Swimmers face multiple maximal-exertion events during competition. Strenuous physical exercise leads to fatigue and, thus, a decrease in sports performance.

Concepts: Psychology, Physical exercise, Test method, Exercise physiology, Swimming, Exercise intolerance, Knitting, Passive voice


This paper investigates the nature of reduction phenomena in informal speech. It addresses the question whether reduction processes that affect many word types, but only if they occur in connected informal speech, may be categorical in nature. The focus is on reduction of schwa in the prefixes and on word-final /t/ in Dutch past participles. More than 2000 tokens of past participles from the Ernestus Corpus of Spontaneous Dutch and the Spoken Dutch Corpus (both from the interview and read speech component) were transcribed automatically. The results demonstrate that the presence and duration of /t/ are affected by approximately the same phonetic variables, indicating that the absence of /t/ is the extreme result of shortening, and thus results from a gradient reduction process. Also for schwa, the data show that mainly phonetic variables influence its reduction but its presence is affected by different and more variables than its duration, which suggests that the absence of schwa may result from gradient as well as categorical processes. These conclusions are supported by the distributions of the segments' durations. These findings provide evidence that reduction phenomena which affect many words in informal conversations may also result from categorical reduction processes.

Concepts: Affect, Sentence, Language, International Phonetic Alphabet, English language, Verb, Participle, Passive voice


Meniscal pathology is a commonly seen orthopedic condition that can affect a wide age range of patients. Athletes subject their menisci to an increased amount of stress during their careers and may increase their risk of meniscal pathology.

Concepts: Meniscus, Capillary action, Passive voice


To investigate the effect of warmup by application of the thermal agent Deep Heat (DH) on muscle mechanical properties using magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) at 3T before and after exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD).

Concepts: Medical imaging, Muscle, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Heat, Muscle contraction, Heat transfer, Balance wheel, Passive voice


Few medical journals specifically instruct authors to use the active voice and avoid the passive voice, but advice to that effect is common in the large number of stylebooks and blogs aimed at medical and scientific writers. Such advice typically revolves around arguments that the passive voice is less clear, less direct, and less concise than the active voice, that it conceals the identity of the person(s) performing the action(s) described, that it obscures meaning, that it is pompous, and that the high rate of passive-voice usage in scientific writing is a result of conformity to an established and old-fashioned style of writing. Some of these arguments are valid with respect to specific examples of passive-voice misuse by some medical (and other) writers, but as arguments for avoiding passive-voice use in general, they are seriously flawed. In addition, many of the examples that stylebook writers give of inappropriate use are actually much more appropriate in certain contexts than the active-voice alternatives they provide. In this review, I examine the advice offered by anti-passive writers, along with some of their examples of “inappropriate” use, and argue that the key factor in voice selection is sentence word order as determined by the natural tendency in English for the topic of discourse (“old” information) to take subject position and for “new” information to come later. Authors who submit to this natural tendency will not have to worry much about voice selection, because it will usually be automatic.

Concepts: Subject, German language, Writer, Word order, Passive voice, Style guide, English passive voice, Voice


Differences in caregiver input across socioeconomic status (SES) predict syntactic development, but the mechanisms are not well understood. Input effects may reflect the exposure needed to acquire syntactic representations during learning (e.g., does the child have the relevant structures for passive sentences?) or access this knowledge during communication (e.g., can she use the past participle to infer the meaning of passives?). Using an eye-tracking and act-out paradigm, the current study distinguishes these mechanisms by comparing the interpretation of actives and passives in 3- to 7-year-olds (n=129) from varying SES backgrounds. During the presentation of spoken sentences, fixations revealed robust disambiguation of constructions by children from higher-SES backgrounds, but less sensitivity by lower-SES counterparts. After sentence presentation, decreased sensitivity generated interpretive challenges and average SES-related differences for passives requiring syntactic revision (“The seal is quickly eaten by it”). Critically, no differences were found when revision was not needed (“It is quickly eaten by the seal”). These results suggest that all children shared an ability to acquire passives, but SES-related differences in real-time processing can impact the accuracy of utterance interpretation.

Concepts: Philosophy of language, Linguistics, Child, Meaning of life, Knowledge, Verb, Participle, Passive voice


Emotionally relevant stimuli and in particular anger are, due to their evolutionary relevance, often processed automatically and able to modulate attention independent of conscious access. Here, we tested whether attention allocation is enhanced when auditory stimuli are uttered by an angry voice. We recorded EEG and presented healthy individuals with a passive condition where unfamiliar names as well as the subject’s own name were spoken both with an angry and neutral prosody. The active condition instead, required participants to actively count one of the presented (angry) names. Results revealed that in the passive condition the angry prosody only elicited slightly stronger delta synchronization as compared to a neutral voice. In the active condition the attended (angry) target was related to enhanced delta/theta synchronization as well as alpha desynchronization suggesting enhanced allocation of attention and utilization of working memory resources. Altogether, the current results are in line with previous findings and highlight that attention orientation can be systematically related to specific oscillatory brain responses. Potential applications include assessment of non-communicative clinical groups such as post-comatose patients.

Concepts: Psychology, Neuroscience, Subject, Emotion, Anger, Passive voice


Two experiments investigated whether 4- and 5-year-old children choose to learn from informants who use more complex syntax (passive voice) over informants using more simple syntax (active voice). In Experiment 1 (N = 30), children viewed one informant who consistently used the passive voice and another who used active voice. When learning novel words from the two informants, children were more likely to endorse information from the passive informant. Experiment 2 (N = 32) explored whether preference for the passive informant varied by socioeconomic status (SES; eligibility for free/reduced lunch). Although higher SES children selectively preferred the passive informant, lower SES children preferred the active informant. Explanations are discussed for why SES might moderate children’s sensitivity to syntactic complexity when choosing from whom to learn.

Concepts: Socioeconomic status, Grammar, Choice, Syntax, Passive voice, English passive voice, Voice, Auxiliary verb


The present study investigated whether the recognition of spoken words is influenced by how predictable they are given their syntactic context and whether listeners assign more weight to syntactic predictability when acoustic-phonetic information is less reliable. Syntactic predictability was manipulated by varying the word order of past participles and auxiliary verbs in Dutch subordinate clauses. Acoustic-phonetic reliability was manipulated by presenting sentences either in a careful or a casual speaking style. In 3 eye-tracking experiments, participants recognized past participles more quickly when they occurred after their associated auxiliary verbs than when they preceded them. Response measures tapping into later stages of processing suggested that this effect was stronger for casually than for carefully produced sentences. These findings provide further evidence that syntactic predictability can influence word recognition and that this type of information is particularly useful for coping with acoustic-phonetic reductions in conversational speech. We conclude that listeners dynamically adapt to the different sources of linguistic information available to them. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Sentence, Language, Word, Verb, German language, Syntactic entities, Syntax, Passive voice


Several studies suggest worse surgical outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities. There is a paucity of research on preoperative and postoperative pain, general health, and disease-specific measures in which race is the main subject of investigation; furthermore, the results are not conclusive.

Concepts: United States, Arthroplasty, Passive voice